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University of Michigan Bans Coke Products

From Reuters

Coca-Cola Co. on Friday said it was banned from another college campus this month when the University of Michigan halted purchases of the company’s products because of concerns about the soft drink maker’s labor practices in Colombia and environmental actions in India.

The move by the school, which has more than 40,000 students, follows a similar ban this month by New York University, which has more than 50,000 students. The two are among Coke’s largest university accounts.

Administrators at the University of Michigan could not be reached for comment.

Environmental groups have accused the world’s largest soft drink company and its bottlers of draining water tables in India and worsening its drought conditions.

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A group of labor activists also has been waging a campaign against Coca-Cola and its bottling partners for several years, accusing them of hiring right-wing death squads to intimidate union activists at Colombian bottling plants.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has denied the allegations and said it believed that its bottlers were not involved in any of the atrocities in Colombia.

Coke also said there was no evidence linking the company or its bottlers to the groundwater problems in India.

“It is a very unfortunate. The actual volume in terms of sales is small but it is the larger issue of our reputation,” a Coke spokeswoman said. “These allegations are false but we do share the concerns with issues.”

In May, more than a dozen universities talked with Coke and later formed a commission to investigate the company’s labor practices in Colombia with Coke’s approval.

Coco-Cola shares fell 29 cents to $40.31 on Friday.


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